Their games in Spain complete, the Princeton men's basketball team had most of Friday to explore Madrid on their own.
The Princeton contingent started the day with a visit to the Royal Palace of Madrid, the 18th-century building that once housed Spanish royalty and now is home to occasional official state functions. After the tour, which included a visit to the Royal Armory and Pharmacy as well as the main palace, the members of the travel party were able to explore Spain's capital city on their own for the rest of the day.
Saturday will bring the group's last full day in Madrid and will begin with a morning visit to the Prado Museum, home to European art spanning seven centuries. The travel party will fly home Sunday.
Below, Clay Wilson contributes the day's blog entry.
Hola Tigres familia
Gracias por su apoyo continuo con nuestro viaje a Espana. [Thanks for your continued support with our trip to Spain.]
I think it was a well-known fact around the team that I struggled the most when it came to speaking the Spanish language. This trip, among other things, has helped me realize that it will be very beneficial to be fluent in a second language, and I am excited to further expand my ability to speak Spanish. Just today my roommate (Bob Garbade) and I had to communicate with someone who spoke absolutely no English because our air conditioning motor stopped working. Bob led the conversation, of course, but I like to think I helped out a little bit.
After Bob and I were placed in a new room, we went down for breakfast with our teammates. The breakfast in Madrid is something that I will never forget. The breakfasts always get the days off to a great start.
Next, the team loaded up into our bus to tour the Royal Palace of Madrid. It was absolutely breathtaking, from the size of the palace to the intricate details of every mosaic table. About 2,800 rooms fill the palace, and we were fortunate enough to be hosted by a wonderful tour guide. Each room was decorated by colorful ceiling paintings as well as spectacular hand made clocks and chandeliers. The grandness of the palace kept our attention throughout the tour. Just when we thought we had seen it all, we then went to the armory and the pharmacy. Whether it be statues of kings and queens, or horses mounted by knights in all kinds of armor, or medicine still filling the walls of the pharmacy, it all was a sight to see. The history behind the palace itself was extremely interesting, and I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about it.
After the tour was over, and since we have no more games, coach gave us the rest of the day to tour the city. We used that time to buy souvenirs and to really just relish the opportunity that we have been so blessed to have.
I know I speak for our whole team when I say how grateful we are to be here in Spain. Thank you to everyone who has made this trip possible. It is hard to believe that it's almost time to head back, but I know I have enjoyed every single second and have loved getting some culture. I will never forget my first trip overseas.